A few months ago, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, recommended 3 books that every CEO and business owner should read. I didn’t know which one to read first so I started investigating the authors who wrote them. I discovered that one of the authors, Clayton M. Christensen, wrote another book called How Will You Measure Your Life? The back cover read as follows:
In 2010 world-renowned innovation expert Clayton M. Christensen gave a powerful speech to the Harvard Business School’s graduating class. Drawing upon his business research, he offered a series of guidelines for finding meaning and happiness in life. He used examples from his own experiences to explain how high achievers can all too often fall into traps that lead to unhappiness.
The speech was memorable not only because it was deeply revealing but also because it came at a time of intense personal reflection: Christensen had just overcome the same type of cancer that had taken his father’s life. As Christensen struggled with the disease, the question “How do you measure your life?” became more urgent and poignant, and he began to share his insights more widely with family, friends, and students.
In this groundbreaking book, Christensen puts forth a series of questions: How can I be sure that I’ll find satisfaction in my career? How can I be sure that my personal relationships become enduring sources of happiness? How can I avoid compromising my integrity and stay out of jail? Using lessons from some of the world’s greatest businesses, he provides incredible insights into these challenging questions.
How Will You Measure Your Life? is full of inspiration and wisdom, and will help students, mid-career professionals, and parents alike forge their own paths to fulfillment.
I started reading the book using Audible.com’s incredible service but had to take a break. By the time I hit chapter 7, I was exhausted. The content is extremely good and, as the publisher stated, it is full of inspiration and wisdom. I had wanted to compile a really awesome post that summarizes key aspect of the book but I will share a few notes I had written down instead:
- You can neglect the relationship with your spouse, and on a day-to-day basis it doesn’t seem like things are deteriorating.
- Ambitious people may believe that their family is deeply important to them, they actually allocate fewer and fewer resources to the things they would SAY matter most. Few people set out to do this. The decisions often seem tactical. Just small decisions they think won’t have a large impact. But as they keep allocating resources in this way, they’re implementing a strategy different than what they intend.
- How to check if you’re implementing the strategy you intend? Watch where your resources flow. If it doesn’t support the strategy that you’ve decided upon, you run the risk of a serious problem.
- If the decisions you make about where to spend your blood sweat and tears are not consistent with the person you aspire to be, you’ll never become that person.
- High achievers often spend too much time considering who they want to be at work and far too little time about who they want to be at home.
- Getting something wrong doesn’t mean you failed, it just means you learned what doesn’t work.
- When it seems like relationships at home are going well, you’ll be lulled into believing you can put these relationships onto the back burner. That’s a mistake. By the time serious issues arise in those relationships, it is often too late to repair them.
Towards the beginning of the book, the author discusses the difference between correlation and causation. People often attempt to replicate success by replicating the actions of other people; however, that is a lot like trying to fly by replicating a bird. As we can see from the early flight videos, it is far better to understand what causes a bird to fly than to simply attempt to replicate it. It wasn’t until we had a better understanding of fluid dynamics that our strategies improved.